In a recent survey of nurses, 59% reported that they had been the victims of workplace violence. More than half of those respondents went on to report that they were not satisfied with how the incidents were handled.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 12% of the injuries sustained by registered nurses are from violent acts. These injuries can be deadly. Lynne Truxillo, a nurse from Baton Rouge, died from complications from injuries she sustained after an attack on the job. Evelyn Lynch, a nurse in Brooklyn, NY, was beaten into a coma and died several years later, just months from retirement. Dr. Michael Davidson was shot and killed in his clinic by the son of one of his patients. Many more incidents of violence against health care workers go unreported, and very few cases result in criminal charges.
Unlike act 51 of 2020 which addressed criminal convictions for those who attack healthcare workers, this bill would require the Pennsylvania Department of Labor to address workplace violence in the health care and social service sectors. Specifically, Labor must promulgate an occupational safety and health standard that requires certain employers in the health care and social service sectors, as well as employers in sectors that conduct activities similar to the activities in the health care and social service sectors, to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for protecting health care workers, social service workers, and other personnel from workplace violence.
In addition, those employers must:
investigate workplace violence incidents, risks, or hazards as soon as practicable;
provide training and education to employees who may be exposed to workplace violence hazards and risks;
meet record-keeping requirements; and
prohibit acts of discrimination or retaliation against employees for reporting workplace violence incidents, threats, or concerns.